Days 8 and 9 – Weird Desert Things ft. Paula Mason

Stella and I were so happy to have cousin Paula join our tiny band of travelers for the stretch of trip between Albuquerque and Austin.

We left Thursday AM (Paula got up at 6:30am to prepare like a BOSS) and hit the road in search of desert adventures!

We stopped at a gas station for gas and ice and I think this is when Paula discovered just how many pictures I would be taking over her.


Hello it is I, Paula, the person who perpetually has their middle finger up. As you can tell I really love having my picture taken. I like that I’m a “BOSS” for waking up a 6:30am because in reality I just forgot to pack the night before because I’m lazy so I had to wake up extra early.

paula and stella gas station

***There’s that finger again***

After a short stop for a cheeseburger and some pretty weird fish tacos at a roadside diner in Vaughn, we booked it to Roswell in search of intelligent life from other planets.

Roswell did not disappoint. The thing about Roswell is they seem to be very proud of their extraterrestrial heritage. There were aliens everywhere we looked — from McDonalds to signs for the upcoming Senior Olympics. The spaceship fit in very nicely.

alien face.jpg

***We come in peace***

One of the weirder sightings in Roswell occurred when Paula and I were stopped at a stoplight and looked to our right to discover a preschool, a gun shop, and a chakra reading center all in a row. Roswellians sure do have some diverse interests!

We headed towards downtown in search of this random store Paula had been to years before that had amazing dioramas of alien scenes. We stopped in the Roswell Alien museum which was surprisingly boring but had some interesting information about crop circles, like that they pop up at the intersections of energy lines connected to sacred spaces in the world – like the pyramids of Giza and stone henge. Pretty cool.

We refused to leave without finding this awesome diorama spot so, after the museum, we wandered around different stores talking to the shop keepers and describing what we were looking for. In the process we found…

alien friends

***A furniture store***

i'm too sexy for my spaceship

***The Taye Diggs of extraterrestrial beings. He’s too sexy for his spaceship.***

And then (finally!), in one of the shops we wandered into, the shop keeper told us to check out the photos on the wall and asked us if that’s what we were looking for. It was! “Area 51” it was called. Words cannot describe how wonderfully weird this place was. It was basically this giant creepy room full of different alien dioramas you could interact with. Here are the highlights.


Yay!! We found it!!! After scouring Roswell we finally found the place that most of my childhood fears stem from, what fun!! Upon entering this delightful establishment I was struck with war flashbacks of 6 year old me, frozen with fear, standing next to a dead alien with a cleaver in my hand (background information: there used to be a diorama of a dead alien ready for dissection that you could pose next to with a cleaver for dramatic effect, alas it no longer exists).  It’s more fun when you’re 19 and less terrified of everything.

paula and alien

***Paula can’t drive stick but she can operate a spaceship!***

***I can too (not really) drive stick ***

rachel ceiling

***Oh hey guys! Mind if I drop in?***


***Roswell rocks!***

***We got hella hoes in hella Area (51) codes***

Post-Roswell, we hit the road towards Marfa! Antics along the way included many, many singalongs, some music video production, a stop at a random lake so Stella could cool down, Mexican food in Pecos, and driving through thunder and lightening storms in the pitch dark!


Weeee!!! Mariah Carey, Beyonce and trying not to parish in a lighting storm was one of my favorite parts of this journey.

paula headband

***Ol’ Sticker Face Mason***

stella rainbow

***Stella, lake, desert sky, rainbow***

FINALLY, at about 11pm, we arrived in Marfa. Julie, my cousin Chrissy’s friend and our host for the night, stayed up to meet us. What a sweetie! She rents her place out on AirBnB and it is adorable. I highly recommend it for anyone considering a visit to Marfa.

Marfa itself was pretty cool. It feels like the super hip neighborhood of a big city but it is in the middle of nowhere in the desert! We only had a few hours on Friday morning, so Julie recommended we check out El Comisco and the art by Donald Judd at the Chinati Foundation. It was short, but certainly sweet, Marfa!


Marfa! I can only describe it as delightfully nifty.  Despite the thunderstorm that scared Stella so bad she spent half the night pacing around the room and hiding under the bed resulting in very little sleep for all of us and a bit of a late start to our drive to Austin, Marfa proved to be very cute and very fun!!


***The lovely Julie***


***This is in Julie’s backyard. I showered here and it was magical.***


***El Comisco hammocks***



After our quick tour of Marfa, we grabbed some turkey sandwiches from a food truck bordered by old cars lined in fur (yes), and then picked up Thomas! Thomas is a friend of a friend of Julie’s and needed a ride to Ozona to pick up his car. Somehow we made room for him (luckily he likes dogs!) and drove him the three hours to Ozona while he told us all about how Marfa has changed over the last ten years, what it’s like to live in San Antonio, and how he does not partake in social media of any kind (crazy but true).

After dropping Thomas, Paula and I made great time towards Austin. We were hoping to get in earlier than 11pm that night, so we booked it. I was so focused on making good time that I overestimated how far our quarter tank of gas would get us. Luckily we found this random situation in one of the tiny towns off the interstate…


Rachel got mad at me for telling her mom that we picked up a hitchhiker aka Thomas.  He wasn’t really a hitchhiker at all but a little exaggeration never hurt a good story.

paula gas

***Shhhh. You love it, Paula***

***I LOVE how many pictures you take of me, Rachel, please keep taking more***

We made time for a river stop in Junction (to make the dog happy) and a snack break at Sonic (to make the humans happy) and then we headed straight through to Austin! We arrived at about 9:30pm and Chrissy got home not long after that.

stella junction

***Mid-river dog happy***

pre-sonic humans

***Pre-sonic humans hungry***

Austin is it’s whole own story, which I will leave for next time, but here is a preview pic to leave you with so you can get a sense of the cuz looooveeee…


Spoiler alert for the Austin blog: we were WIGGIN out (I’m so punny I don’t know how Rachel put up with me for two whole days of driving).  Anyway, I am very grateful for the opportunity to take this trip with my wonderful cousin, it was filled with many a good time and memories I shan’t forget.  


***Reunited and it feels so good!***


One thought on “Days 8 and 9 – Weird Desert Things ft. Paula Mason

  1. Great post from you guys; nice hearing your input, Paula, and the saga of childhood terror. Oh yeah, I didn’t care about the hitchhiker (when I thought he was one) b\c I know he could never best you two! Loved all the pictures, especially the one of you guys in the spaceship . . . and Rachel, is that a green ray gun you have dangling from your hand in front of the furniture store? Woof woof to my grandog, the water-addict Stella!
    Love and happy further trails,
    Mom, Auntie, Grandma xox


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